Why no Love for the Vulcan 500?

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by deezildennis, Apr 14, 2013.

  1. deezildennis

    deezildennis Its a what?

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    Is this little bike too under powered for serious road warrior duty? I have always liked these for some reason. Are they junk or are they a OK little run about with hwy use?

    Anyone here have one?
    #1
  2. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    They are one of the best small displacement cruisers ever made. They have a LOT of power for a 500, because they use the Ninja 500 engine. The Vulcan 500 is faster than the former Vulcan 1500 Classic. They will easily cruise at highway speeds all day. The only drawback, and probably the reason I have never owned one, is that they have tube type tires, and no centerstand. So a flat tire out on the road can be an issue. If that doesn't bother you, then go for it. It has been compared to the former Honda VLX600 and Suzuki Savage/S40. It blows them both away. It's faster than the Shadow 750. The other thing some people do not like about it is it is basically a cruiser with a sportbike engine, and it does not look or sound like the v-twin everybody seems to want. It also has a very different powerband.
    #2
  3. ArmSC

    ArmSC Been here awhile

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    I remember a buddy of mine looking at one a few years ago and I was pretty impressed with the way it felt. I have never got the chance to ride one but I here they are fun little bikes. The standard engine in a cruiser makes for a unique end result. If I had money laying around I wouldn't mind picking one up.
    #3
  4. dogjaw

    dogjaw plays well alone

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    If I didn't hate the feet forward riding position so much, I would have one; not a cruiser guy, but the Vulcan is a very nice bike, accelerates like a sport bike
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  5. Bar None

    Bar None Candy Ass

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    I had one.
    Good bullet proof Kawasaki bike but not too exciting. Good commuter with plenty of power if you wind her up.
    #5
  6. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

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    I think because people expect a cruiser with such small displacement to be an underpowered dog. The Vulcan is relatively light, and the engine makes decent power (if a bit rev-happy for a cruiser).

    Personally, I'd much rather have a Vulcan 500 than a V-Star 650 or Suzuki S40. Reliability is good too.
    #6
  7. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    A friend had one for a while. He enjoyed blowing unsuspecting HDs into the weeds with it -- it's a real little sleeper for a cruiser.
    #7
  8. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze Long timer

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    My wife has often said she would like to have a 450 Rebel. Of course those were only available new for a couple of years in the mid '80s. Good ones are hard to find. I keep trying to steer her to the Kawasaki 500, but she insists on a Rebel. I don't know why.
    #8
  9. kraven

    kraven Hegelian Scum

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    I'll be a dissenting voice and say that I found the frame quite flexy.
    I think I was 220 last time I rode one. They're not built for heavier people.

    At least, that was my perspective.

    But, it is a neat straight line or laid back cruiser bike.
    #9
  10. RottVet

    RottVet Been here awhile

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    +1 on it being a great womans bike as well as a starter bike for young'uns. Have had one since 07, has been the first bike for my Wife, son and now my 14 year old daughter. Adequate power for the highway, not too heavy, delightful ergos, one of the most comfortable seats on any bike I have owned. Easy to maintain, easy to ride, adequate brakes. Downsides are the tubed tires, chain maintainace, valve adustment a major operation. Was really sad to find out that Kawasaki has d/c'd them. Sure a fun scoot!
    #10
  11. TrashCan

    TrashCan Scary Jerry

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    I had one and really liked the bike.
    Good power if you twist on it. If it had more ground clearance I would probably still be on it.

    Good bike...Good motor.
    #11
  12. 131unlimited

    131unlimited Been here awhile

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    :puke1


    um, no...
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  13. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Adventurer

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    Bought a '93 last year and put 2000 miles on it. Great bike but the cruiser was not for me so I sold it in January. Got all my money back. You can find them on craigs list for a good price. '93 had a belt drive. Vulcan forum has an active subforum on the 500.
    #13
  14. MotoRacerGabe

    MotoRacerGabe Adventurer

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    A friend of mine had one a few years ago. I rode it once. It was a cool little bike, perfect starter bike I think. I had a ninja 500 myself at the time.

    I have always been interested in it's bigger brother, the Eliminator 600. Same concept but with the ninja 600 engine. Inline 4, with a longer wheel base, six speed, shaft drive :evil
    #14
  15. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    I had that bike in it's first incarnation, an '86 454 LTD. I found it to be a great bike, but wound up trading it for an '88 EX500 (both new). The 454 had tubeless tires. The Vulcan 500 was probably the last parallel twin Japanese cruiser built, and reminds me a lot of the good old days before Japanese v-twins. Only issue I have with it is the tube type tires and lack of a centerstand.


    Be really careful about the 450 Rebel. They are more of a collectors item than a bike to ride. They were only made for 2 years, '86 and '87, and parts are almost impossible to find. The Rebel 450 does have one important distinction. It was the one and only Honda (or Japanese bike of any brand for that matter) to come with wire spoked wheels designed for tubeless tires. Honda considered tubeless tires important for safety reasons back then. Apparently not anymore.
    #15
  16. TinyBear

    TinyBear Been here awhile

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    I had a 2003 vulcan 500 for a couple years. I purchased it on a whim when my mother needed a bike for a trip due to hers having serious issues with the transmission weeks before departure. I got the bike cheap it needed very little and my plan was to sell it after the trip.

    After the trip while listing the bike for sale I started using it as a commuter while my Honda was my toy. And I Ended up LOVING that little bike. It was ALOT of fun far more powerful than my first cruiser a 650cc v-star. And it handled very well for a cruiser. No longer was it for sale it was to be my commuter/project come winter. Figured I could have a cool little bobber that's a nice light little bike for scooting back and forth from work. My Honda could stay being used as my toy/touring mount (no reason to get it all dirty from the dirt/mud yard at work.

    But sadly my little Vulcan met a sad death. On September 12 last year I was hit going threw a green light by an in attentive cage driver. I'm still recovering from the injuries and the bike was a complete wreck (forks and frame bent engine casting cracked tank destroyed).

    How I had it set up
    [​IMG]

    Loaded down going cross country trip
    [​IMG]

    And sadly its demise
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. GoonerYoda

    GoonerYoda Hot Dickens Cider

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    My buddy just picked up a 500 ltd as his first bike. I rode it back 30 miles for him from the seller's place back to my friends house (just got his M1, did the MSF and he didn't want to ride it back with only being his 4th time on a bike).

    [​IMG]


    About 1/3 of the way home, my inner thighs started to ache. It's a fun little cruiser.
    #17
  18. deezildennis

    deezildennis Its a what?

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    What specifically was the reason why your thighs ached?

    Bike looks good.
    #18
  19. GoonerYoda

    GoonerYoda Hot Dickens Cider

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    Just the way my legs were positioned when I rode it as I gave the tank a bit of a squeeze when I rode it.

    Sample picture:
    [​IMG]

    Also, noticed something strange, in 2nd and 3rd gear, when it gets to about 35mph, there is this sudden surge of power. Almost as if it had a turbo. LOL. It happened in 1st gear one time while I was making a right turn onto another road. Then when its in six gear, I'd twist that throttle likes its going out of style and it felt like nothing was happening. Ideas?

    FYI...I've ridden a 2007 SV650, 2006 Daytona 675 and my W650 (demo ridden Bonneville, S1000RR, Street Triple, ER-6n and 2009 Ninja 250) so I'm comparing this 500 to my past bikes and others I've ridden.
    #19
  20. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    That is about the most perfect riding position I've ever seen. Feet out in front, but not to far, so you still have plenty of leg support. Those highway bars that mount near the front axle are as bad as rearsets. Upright seating position, arms relaxed with hands on the grips. Your arms and shoulders are not supporting most of your upper body weight like this bikes cousin, the EX500 Ninja.

    The Vulcan 500 has a sportbike motor. Literally. The original 454 LTD was half of the original Ninja 900 motor, and when the Ninja became a 1000, the Vulcan became a 500. It has sportbike performance characteristics, which means a top end rush that most cruisers don't have. You don't get that in top gear, because it is geared very high, to keep rpms down on the highway. Downshift it once and watch it go. It does not have a tach, but it should. That engine has an 11,000 rpm redline.
    #20